Return to the Carolina Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

WANTED: Bees and wasps

Posted by ralphw z7b-8 NC (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 14, 07 at 11:31

I have become intrigued by all of the bees and wasps in my garden. I am convinced that they are keeping the level of aphids and caterpillars down so that I do not have to spray most things (cucumber beetles and melon worms being the exceptions). I grow bronze fennel, butterfly weed, several varieties of sage, mint, Honeysuckle, lantana and Verbena bonariensis to attract them (and of course the Goldfinches, humming birds and butterflies). I have also planted Clethra, Mountain Mint(Pycnanthemum) and a white Joe Pye Weed specifically because I have seen them covered by solitary bees and small wasps at the North Carolina botanical garden and other places. These 3 plants have been a disappointment in my garden in that I rarely have seen either bees/wasps nor butterflies on them when nearby sage and fennel plants were practically covered. Can anyone suggest why these plants are not bee & wasp attractors in my garden?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: WANTED: Bees and wasps

One explanation may be that the flowers pulse their nectar production throughout the day, with different plants on different cycles. That way not everything is attractive at the same time. If you watch your swallowtails or hummingbirds they will go around the garden sipping from the same species of plants in one pass, completely ignoring nearby plants even though those plants are full of flowers. Some plants do hog the limelight and produce an abundance of nectar while others stick to a rigid schedule. I imagine your bees are hitting the other plants but they wait til you aren't looking to do it.

I grow garlic chives to attract the colorful wasps (the ones with the black bodies with bold cream and red splotches on their abdomens). I snip off the flower heads when they are done blooming to keep them from seeding in everywhere.

RE: WANTED: Bees and wasps

my mountain mint and garlic chives usually are loaded with little wasps and bees. i never really thought about it before. i don't usually have trouble with aphids except for maybe the very early spring. i never thought about them being connected. we do have many ladybugs and praying mantids, too. speaking of snipping garlic chive heads- i need to do that now. i forget each year and now have a sizeable patch!

RE: WANTED: Bees and wasps

In Asia, farmers will build cute little birdhouse like shelters for paper wasps. By encouraging them to live in their gardens they help keep caterpillars under control. Most of the larger wasps and hornets (yellow jackets are considered a hornet) really like to feed caterpillars to their babies. I imagine things as small as aphids are preyed upon by those tiny tiny wasps.

One of my favorite wasps is the Steel Blue Green Cricket Killer. You don't see them as much here on the east coast. They are a shiny black wasp with black wings and every part of them has a blue or purple irridescence (thats the "steel blue" part of their name). They only eat Green Crickets (what some people call Katydids). The cool thing is that while you are out in the garden or sitting on the porch, these wasps will be hunting and totally oblivious to you. They walk around porch railings and potted plants feeling with their antennae and really seem to be peeking into every hiding spot big enough for a cricket. They'll even climb all over you if you sit still enough.

RE: WANTED: Bees and wasps

ooh- i've seen those john! they are very pretty and not aggressive at all. good to know what they are and what they hunt. my kids hunt katydids to feed the turtles. and i had a paper wasp nest in a little ornamental/possible wren house this year. i didn't bother them, nor they me.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Please Note: Only registered members from North Carolina and South Carolina are able to post messages here (this may be indicated by the title of the forum. All exchanges not indicated otherwise are restricted to those living in the U.S.)

If you are a member from an area mentioned above, please log in.

Return to the Carolina Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here